Super Bowl 2018
Today is February 4, 2018 and Super Bowl LII which will start at 6:30pm. My dad would have been one hundred years old on July 24, 2018. We watched around 200 Eagles’ games together and today they are in the Super Bowl.
We always sat in the same comfortable blue and white sofa chairs every game. In plenty of time before the game, I would drive down from my new home town in Trenton, New Jersey to arrive at the independent living condominium. No interruptions during the game were permitted except in rare occasions during half time when Pop might have a dollop more of Canadian Club Whiskey. It was a moment of communion born of his difficulty getting up and a comradery defined not just by our growing father-son bond, but because we both bled green and knew the Eagles’ fight song.
There was another tradition kept on these Sunday afternoons beyond our favorite lucky chairs. We would watch the game on tv with the national announcers who were careful to be neutral – by their definition. We would roll our eyes when they commented on the Eagles and know that they just didn’t get Philadelphia, the Eagles or their quarterbacks. (Pop had known each of them since the 1950s. Their names were like old friends – Norm VanBrocklin, Sonny Jerguson, Norm Snead, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Tommy Thompson.)
The tv sound was turned off accordingly. We listened to the play by play and colorful nuances on the radio languishing joyfully in the commentators Mike Quick and the legendary Eagles Hall of Famer, Merrill Reese. They will be calling today’s game too. This is the Eagles’ third time to the Super Bowl – no victories, rings or Lombardi Championship Trophy.
The ritual of watching could be tense with groans and “how could they…”. Laughter was not usually appropriate, except when we would enter the gray zone together simultaneously. We would not know that we were entering this cognitive twilight until we were already there. The only way out was to hit ourselves on the forehead and chuckle.
Naturally, you would see that the tv and radio had commercial breaks at the same time – halftime, timeouts, etc. The tv would have a Budweiser commercial on and the radio would be selling the latest cars.
We would squint at the tv and both strike ‘I don’t get it’ poses with a side glance, because the audio was cars and the visual was beer. We couldn’t understand how in the world that could be. Twenty plus times it would happen over the years and we would keep falling for it.
The Eagles won their first Super Bowl today, with a trick play on the goal line. Pop could have made that play up when we played touch football in the yard or as quarterback of the 1940 Princeton team. Pop, here is to you in Heaven. We enjoyed it like the old days even though you are in Heaven with the greatest play caller.
(P.S.: I knew better than to watch the commercial.)